Swansea City have regained their spot at the top of the Championship table following their first victory since late August against Charlton Athletic at The Valley on Wednesday night.
Steve Cooper’s side sealed a narrow 2-1 victory over the Addicks with strikes from Yan Dhanda and Andre Ayew completing Swansea’s comeback after Jonathan Leko had put the home side in front inside the opening two minutes.
The victory was timely for Swansea given they had started the season so confidently but then went on a three-game winless run following a defeat at home to Nottingham Forest and then draws against Bristol City and Reading.
Ayew’s first league goal for the Swans since May 2016 was the headline story from their victory at The Valley, but the defence also delivered impressive performances to ensure Swansea saw out the victory late on.
Joe Rodon and Mike van der Hoorn have started every league game at the centre of defence and the pairing shone once again, with Rodon delivering a particularly starring role against Lee Bowyer’s side.
The 21-year-old first broke into the Swansea side at the start of the last season and he is continually developed since then to now become a key member of Cooper’s squad.
Here, we take a closer look at the Welsh international’s performance at The Valley…
Rodon has not missed a second of league action for the Swans this season and he once again played the full 90 minutes against Charlton as he helped Swansea secure an important win against Lee Bowyer’s dangerous side.
It wasn’t just his defensive prowess that benefitted Swansea as he also managed to contribute a rare assist during the match for Ayew’s winning goal. Rodon showed excellent determination to meet Matt Grimes’ corner at the near post before flicking it into the path of Ayew who tucked the ball home.
However, the Welshman’s defensive statistics reveal this is where he ultimately benefitted Swansea most as he played a key role in ensuring Leko’s early strike was the only goal his side were to concede. Rodon showed his ability to read the game by making three interceptions during the match with this being made possible by his agility and overall strong match awareness.
Rodon also made nine clearances against Charlton and this is the highest number he has made in any match so far this season which proves how crucial the defender was to Swansea’s victory. His solid defensive performance was also facilitated by the presence of van der Hoorn alongside him, as the pair have now developed a good understanding of each other’s game.
Another one of Rodon’s biggest strengths is the quality he can show with the ball at his feet. This was again explicated at The Valley when he registered 83.3% passing accuracy as he was often made responsible for launching Swansea’s attacks from deep. He can achieve this by effectively playing the ball short while he is also capable of driving forward into midfield. Rodon is also not afraid to attempt a long pass from deep with his three completed long balls against Charlton showcasing the variety in his distribution methods.
Rodon has many strong facets to his game which make him a highly impressive defender at Championship level. The fact he is continuing to improve means it would be no surprise to see him attract interest from a Premier League club in the near future, but his priority will undoubtedly be to reach the top-flight with his boyhood club.